You are on page 1of 12


HISTORY Key Concepts

(1a) The Constitution is a living document

Can be changed by amendment or Supreme Court ruling

Judicial review allows the Supreme Court to rule laws unconstitutional
Supreme Court decisions are based on the values and needs of society at the
Supreme Court can reverse previous Court decisions, ex. Plessy v. Ferguson
(separate but equal) was overturned by Brown v. Board of Education
(school segregation is unconstitutional)
22nd Amendmentlimits presidents to two terms; passed in response to FDRs
four terms
Congress has authorized the use of military force differently over time
according to the Constitution, Congress can declare war, not the President;
last declaration of war was WWII; Vietnam was authorized by the Gulf of
Tonkin Resolution; War Powers Act limits the power of the President to
use the military without congressional approval

(1b) Domestic reform

Regulation of businessfirst federal regulation was the Interstate

Commerce Act to regulate railroads; followed by the Sherman Antitrust
Act to limit monopolies in order to preserve business competition; later the
Clayton Antitrust Act and the Federal Trade Commission strengthened
the Sherman Act; during the Great Depression, the Securities and
Exchange Commission (stock market) and the Federal Deposit
Insurance Corporation (banking) further regulated business
Theodore RooseveltSquare Deal included the 3Cs: Conservation
(National Forest System), Consumer Protection (Meat Inspection Act,
Pure Food & Drug Act), and Control of Corporations (trustbusting and
support for labor unions)
16th Amendmentallows for a graduated (progressive) income tax; enacted
by the Underwood Simmons Tariff which reduced tariffs and started an
income tax
18th AmendmentProhibition; 21st Amendmentrepealed (overturned)
Franklin D. RooseveltNew Deal; 3 Rs: Relief, Recovery, and Reform
programs designed to battle the Great Depression
Harry TrumanFair Deal; desegregated military and federal government in
John F. KennedyNew Frontier; Civil Rights, Peace Corps, and space
Lyndon B. JohnsonGreat Society; Civil Rights and poverty
Ronald ReaganNeoconservative President; against big government,
lowered taxes and increased defense spending, used deficit spending to
stimulate the economy

(1c) Federal powers have expanded

As society has become more complex, the power of federal government has
grown in response
Constitutional justification for expanding federal power is the necessary and
proper clause which allows Congress to make whatever laws it feels are
New Dealthe first major expansion of federal government powers; included
programs such as Works Progress Administration, Civilian Conservation Corps,
Social Security
Social Securityestablished by FDR during the Great Depression to combat
poverty among senior citizens
Lend-Lease Actallowed FDR to offer military aid to other countries (Great
Britain, Soviet Union) during WWII
Presidential powers expanded by Gulf of Tonkin Resolution (allowed LBJ to use
troops without a declaration of war)

(1d) Individual rights and liberties can be restricted because of national

security concerns

World War Ifree speech restricted if it presents a clear and present

danger (Schenck v. U.S.); Espionage Act, Sedition Act, Eugene V.
Immigration was restricted in the 1920s (following WWI) because of fears of
communism and anarchy
World War IIJapanese Americans moves into internment camps because of
fears of national security; Korematsu v. U.S.
Cold WarHouse Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC)
investigated charges of communism; Joseph McCarthy (McCarthyism)
investigated communism in the government; Loyalty Review Board; blacklists
Post-9/11Patriot Act allowed FBI more freedom in wiretapping and

(2a) American society has been impacted by the entry of women,

minorities, and immigrants into the work force

Settlement houses (Hull House, Jane Adams) provided social services to

poor immigrants
New immigrants in the late 19th century provided cheap labor for American
Many immigrant workers faced discrimination and prejudice, especially
Chinese and Irish
By early 20th century, women had more opportunities in retail and office jobs
Opportunities for women and minorities increased during WWI and WWII
More employment opportunities for women and minorities by the late 20 th
As more women are working, traditional family roles have changed

Workplace diversity has increased in the late 20 th and early 21st centuries
(more women, African Americans, Hispanics, Asians, and others in
professional and management careers)

(2b) Environmental challenges such as national park system,

environmental protection laws, and eminent domain

Environmental movement began in the West and then spread across the
Purpose of National Park and Forest systems is to protect areas for public use
Theodore Rooseveltfirst conservation President; balance use with
CCCpart of the New Deal during the Great Depression; provided jobs in
Eminent domainfederal government can take private property for public
use, but only with compensation; ex. Interstate highways, public utilities
Sierra Clubenvironmentalist organization based on grassroots support
Silent Spring1962 book by Rachel Carson; began the modern
environmentalist movement
Clean Water Actprovided federal funding to provide clean, safe drinking

(2c) Welfare reform and public health insurance are influenced by the
persistence of poverty

Great SocietyLBJs program to decrease poverty; included Job Corps, Head

Start, Medicaid (low-income healthcare), Medicare (health insurance for the
Welfare reform of the 1990sfocused on families and job training;
intended to reduce the reliance on government aid (entitlements)
TANFTemporary Assistance to Needy Families; designed to assist families
with children
Highest rates of poverty in the U.S. continue to be amongst children; federal
programs include Medicaid, SCHIP (childrens health insurance), TANF (food
stamps), Head Start and WIC

(3a) Effects of imperialism on foreign policy of U.S.

Reasons for imperialismnew markets for American goods, raw materials,

natural resources, cheap labor, white mans burden, naval bases and
coaling stations
Constitutional issuesHow should people in new territories be treated?
Should they be granted citizenship?
ChinaOpen Door Policy allowed U.S. to trade in China; led to Boxer Rebellion
HawaiiU.S. businessmen overthrew queen of Hawaii; annexed during the
Spanish-American War for its strategic location (naval base)
PhilippinesPhilippine-American War fought after the Spanish-American War;
to put down the Philippine Insurrection against American annexation

Panama Canalcanal zone acquired by Theodore Roosevelt; provided

important link between Atlantic and Pacific Oceans

(3b) Debate of imperialism vs. anti-imperialism

Imperialismterritories and naval bases around the world are key to national
security (Alfred Thayer Mahan); important to American interests; expand
democracy; must compete with other nations for territory
Anti-Imperialismimperialism violates basic American values (ideals) of
freedom, liberty and self-determination
U.S. involvement with Cuba (Spanish-American War)and Hawaii was related
to American business interests there
U.S. annexation of the Philippines was hotly debated, but imperialists won

(3c) Causes and effects of American involvement in WWI and WWII

U.S. involvement in WWI and WWII led to victories for the Allies
Unrestricted German submarine warfare destroyed American ships and cost
American lives, leading to the U.S. entry into WWI
U.S. had also loaned money to the Allies which gave the U.S. a financial stake
in WWI
After WWI, America returned to an isolationist foreign policy
During WWII, the shift to manufacturing military goods caused shortages of
consumer goods; rationing was required
U.S. entry into WWII was a result of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor,
Hawaii; the attack was a response to a U.S. embargo on Japan in retaliation
for the Japanese invasion of French Indochina (Vietnam)
Reasons for dropping atomic bombs on Japanend war quickly with the least
loss of American lives possible
After WWII, America became internationalist, leading to the Cold War

(3d) Origins and development of the Cold War, including ideology,

technology, economics, and geography

Cold Warpost-WWII tensions between the U.S. and Soviet Union (USSR);
result of competition for influence in Western Europeand the world
containmenttheory of accepting the presence of communism where it
exists, but stopping it from spreading elsewhere
Truman DoctrineU.S. would aid free people anywhere who resisted
West Berlindivision of Germany after WWII left West Berlin surrounded by
communist East Germany; led to the Berlin Blockade, the Berlin Airlift, and
the Berlin Wall
NATOmutual defense alliance between U.S. and Western Europe; formed in
response to the growing Soviet threat in the late 1940s
Warsaw Pactformed by the Soviet Union and Eastern European satellite
nations as a response to NATO
Domino theoryled to Vietnam War; if one nation falls to communism, its
neighbors will follow

Arms racecompetition for weapons superiority during the Cold War; led to
buildup of nuclear weapons (hydrogen bomb, missles and airplane
U.S. defense spending greatly increased starting in 1950 with the beginning
of the Korean War and the escalation of the Cold War

(3e) Americas role in international organizations, humanitarian relief, and

post-war reconstruction efforts

Before and after WWI, the U.S. was mostly isolationist; after WWII, the U.S.
became internationalist
League of Nationspart of Woodrow Wilsons 14 Points; international
organization intended to achieve world peace; rejected along with the Treaty
of Versailles by the U.S. Senate
Marshall PlanU.S. financial aid to rebuild Western Europe following WWII;
helped prevent spread of communism, develop trade partners and foreign
United Nationsformed by the Allies following WWII; purpose to maintain
world peace
Korean WarU.S. participated in U.N. effort to protect South Korea from a
North Korean invasion
SomaliaU.N. relief efforts in the 1990s resulted in armed conflict with
Somali rebels

(3f) Causes and effects of U.S. involvement in the Middle East and the
Persian Gulf

IsraelU.S. support for Israel since 1948, and especially since the Yom Kippur
War in 1973, has created feelings of hostility toward the U.S. throughout most
of the Middle East
Increased consumption of oil and gas, and dependence on foreign oil, has
caused U.S. to expand its influence in the Middle East
First Persian Gulf War (Desert Storm)to stop Iraqs invasion of Kuwait;
stabilize relations in the Middle East

(4a) Issues that gave rise to the Civil Rights Movement

Jim Crow lawsin the 1870s, Southern states began making segregation
Plessy v. Ferguson (1896)Supreme Court established the separate but
equal doctrine which made segregation constitutional; effectively legalized
During the Jim Crow era, many Southern blacks were sharecroppers; left them
in a continued cycle of poverty
In 1941, A. Philip Randolph planned a March on Washington; He canceled it
after FDR issued an executive order to end discrimination in defense
During WWII, African Americans fought in segregated units for the U.S.
(Tuskegee Airmen, first African American unit of pilots)

Following WWII, African American veterans began demanding fair treatment

(Double V Campaign)
Poll taxes were used in the South to disenfranchise low-income African
American voters (ended by the 24th Amendment)
Literacy tests were also used to disenfranchise African American voters

(4b) Major events, strategies, and tactics of the modern Civil Rights

Integration of military ordered by Harry Truman in 1948

Montgomery Bus Boycott (1955)begun by Rosa Parks and led by Dr.
Martin Luther King, Jr.; succeeded in integrating Montgomerys bus system;
considered the beginning of the modern Civil Rights Movement
Southern Christian Leadership Conference (1957)African American
civil rights organization formed by Dr. King, Ralph Abernathy, and others;
used nonviolent protest, civil disobedience, and boycotts; was met with
resistance from police, Ku Klux Klan, and the White Citizens Council
Sit-in movement (1960)begun by college students; protested segregated
lunch counters throughout the South; led to the formation of the Student
Nonviolent Coordinating Committee
Freedom Rides (1961)series of protest rides (mostly by college students)
to integrate interstate busing facilities; repeatedly met with violence; inspired
by Rosa Parks (Montgomery Bus Boycott) and the 1941 Journey of
Birmingham (1965)protests led by Dr. King; televised police brutality
forced Kennedy to introduce civil rights legislation
March on Washington (1963)organized to support Kennedys Civil Rights
Act; highlight was MLKs I Have a Dream speech
By the mid-1960s, Stokely Carmichael and SNCC moved away from civil
disobedience and began urging violent resistance
1968 assassinations of Dr. King and Robert F. Kennedyconsidered the end of
the modern Civil Rights Movement

(4c) Response of the federal and state governments to the goals of the
Civil Rights Movement

Brown v. Board of Education (1954)declared school segregation

unconstitutional; was resisted by Southern states who felt that the federal
government was intruding into education which had been an area of state
authority (states rights)
Central High School (1957)Eisenhower sent troops to Little Rock,
Arkansas to enforce integration (ordered by Brown v. Board of Education)
Civil Rights Act of 1964banned discrimination in public facilities; banned
discrimination in employment based on race, sex, religion, etc.; encouraged
employers to hire a more diverse workforce
Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (1972)investigates
employment discrimination based on race, gender, religion, age, etc.

(4d) Impact of the Civil Rights Movement in expanding democracy in the


24th Amendment (1964)prohibited the use of poll taxes to disenfranchise

poor voters (prevent from voting)
Selma to Montgomery marches (1965)helped generate awareness and
support for voting rights legislation
Voting Rights Act of 1965eliminated literacy tests; allowed federal
government to register voters; states with large Hispanic populations must
provide bilingual ballots; Southern states must receive permission from
federal government before changing any voting requirements; allowed more
citizens to vote; created a significant new voting population (Southern
blacks); increased African American political participation and influence

(4e) Goals and objectives of other minority and immigrant groups

Womens Suffrage Movementmain goal of the early womens movement

was voting rights (suffrage); leaders were Susan B. Anthony, Carrie Chapman
Catt, Alice Paul; 19th Amendment (1920) granted women the right to vote,
allowing women to participate in the political process
Feminismthe belief that men and women should be equal politically,
economically, and socially; led to the Equal Pay Act and Civil Rights Act in
the 1960s which outlawed employment discrimination against women; men
are still paid more than women on average, but in the past few decades
women have made gains in closing the wage gap
United Farm Workersled by Csar Chvez; organized Hispanic migrant
farm workers wanting better pay and working conditions; used peaceful
protests and boycotts (grapes and lettuce)
Black Pantherscalled for armed resistance and revolution; rejected the
non-violent tactics of earlier Civil Rights leaders as not effective enough
American Indian Movementradical Indian organization in the 1970s; has
led numerous peaceful protests; also used violent confrontation as a tactic,
because they felt more peaceful efforts had failed

(4f) Political, economic, and social changes in the U.S. that expanded

G.I Forumformed by Hispanic American WWII veterans to battle antiHispanic discrimination after the war
Bilingual Education Actrequired schools to teach classes in immigrants
native language while they were learning English; expanded access to public
Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990banned discrimination against
persons with disabilities; extended the Civil Rights Act and expanded equal
Voter diversity has steadily increased over the last few decades, particularly
with more Hispanic and Asian-American voters; political influence of minority
groups has increased

(5a) Industrialization in the late 19th and early 20th centuries

Factors leading to rise of industrializationnew technologies (Bessemer

process, electric light, telegraph, telephone, interchangeable parts, assembly
line, etc.), energy (coal, petroleum/oil), and cheap labor (new immigrants,
migration from farms/rural America)
Mass production of automobiles (begun by Henry FordModel T) led to road
and highway building, particularly in the 1920s; more automobiles and new
roads led to development of suburbs in the 1920s and, even more so, in the
17th Amendment (1913)provided for the direct election of Senators; was
a response to concerns that the Senate (Millionaires Club) was heavily
influenced by big business and monopolies

(5b) Organized labor movement

Labor unions (organized labor)two major goals: higher wages and better
working conditions
They worked to achieve these goals through collective bargaining and strikes
The demand for labor unions was a result of low pay, long work hours,
frequent layoffs, and dangerous working conditions
Knights of Laborfirst major labor union; organized both skilled and
unskilled workers; allowed minorities, women, and immigrants (except
Chinese); diversity of membership led to its failure
American Federation of Labororganized only skilled workers; first
successful major labor union; practiced bread and butter unionism: fought
for higher wages and better working conditions; merged in the 1950s with the
CIO (skilled and unskilled)
Wagner Act/National Labor Relations Act (1935)passed during the New
Deal; legalized labor unions and granted them collective bargaining rights;
led to a rapid rise in union membership
Fair Labor Standards Act (1938)New Deal law abolished child labor,
established a federal minimum wage, and set the workweek at 44 hours

(5c) Migration and immigration that developed from the push-pull effects
of economic circumstances

Chinese immigrants (1860s-1880s)encouraged to come to America for

railroad construction jobs (pull factor); faced discrimination and hostility;
Chinese Exclusion Act (1882) limited further Chinese immigration
New Immigrants (1880s-1910s)from Southern and Eastern Europe (Italy,
Greece, Poland, Russia, etc); were Catholic, Jewish and other non-Protestant
religions; moved to Northern cities for factory jobs (pull factor); provided a
cheap labor force and consumer market for industrialization; most lived in
ethnic neighborhoods (Little Italy, Chinatown, etc.); immigration restrictions
during the 1920s ended the new immigration
Rural to Urbanduring the late 19th and early 20th centuries, America
shifted from a primarily rural nation to mostly urban; mechanization of

agriculture decreased the need for farm labor (push factor) while
industrialization created factory jobs in the cities (pull factor)
Great Migration (1914-1930)movement of more than a million African
Americans from the South to the North; left the South as a result of poverty
from sharecropping and violence against blacks (push factors); came North
for industrial jobs during and following WWI (pull factor); ended with the
beginning of the Great Depression; a second Great Migration occurred during
and following WWII
Dust Bowl (1930s)series of dust storms on the Great Plains during the Great
Depression that destroyed many peoples farms (push factor); hundreds of
thousands of people (Okies) moved West (to California and Oregon) to
become migrant farm workers (pull factor)
Urban to suburban (1940s and 1950s)following WWII, housing shortages
in the cities and overcrowding combined with the baby boom led to an
increase in housing construction in the suburbs; the Interstate Highway
Act and other road building facilitated the growth of suburbs
Mexican immigrationhas always increased whenever there are labor
shortages in U.S. (pull factor), especially during WWI and WWII; decreases
whenever there are not jobs available, for example during the Great
Rust Belt (1980s)Midwestern and Northeastern cities lost many industrial
jobs (push factor); Americans from the Rust Belt began moving in mass
numbers to the Sun Belt (South and Southwest) for high tech, oil, and
defense jobs (pull factor)

(6a) Transition of the U.S. economy from laissez-faire capitalism to a

regulated economy

Laissez-faire capitalismbelief in the late 19th and early 20th centuries that
business should be free from government interference or regulation
Unequal distribution of wealth/economic inequalityindustrialization and
laissez-faire capitalism caused a condition where most of the wealth of the
U.S. was concentrated in the hands of a few people, while much of the
population lived in poverty
Interstate Commerce Act (1887)regulated railroads; first example of
federal government regulation of business
Sherman Antitrust Act (1890)outlawed monopolies and trusts; goal was
to ensure business competition; was first used against labor unions; wasnt
used to break up monopolies (trustbusting) until Theodore Roosevelt broke up
the Northern Securities Co. in 1902; monopolies argued that big businesses
were more efficient than small companies
Progressives (Theodore Roosevelt, Taft, Wilson)early 20th century
Presidents who greatly increased federal regulation of business: trustbusting,
Meat Inspection Act, Pure Food and Drug Act, Federal Trade
Commission, Clayton Antitrust Act, etc.
Great Depression/New Deal (1930s)under Franklin D. Roosevelt,
numerous laws were passed to increase regulation of banking and the stock

market: Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Glass-Steagall Banking

Act, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), etc.
Antitrust laws are still used to prevent mergers that can create monopolies

(6b) Monetary policy

Populists (late 1800s)farmers movement; wanted a gold and silver standard

(bimetallism); would cause inflation (increase in prices) which would raise
crop prices, allowing them to pay off their debts; unsuccessful because of
concerns by industrialists, bankers, and laborers about inflation; demand for
free silver was ended by the discovery of gold in Alaska in the late 1890s
Federal Reserve System (1913)central banking system of the U.S.;
responsible for monetary policy, including interest rates; appointed by the
President and reports to Congress, but operates independently of political

(6c) Tariffs and trade agreements

Tariffstaxes on imported goods; used for revenue (were federal

governments main source of tax revenue before the income tax) and to
regulate trade (to protect American manufacturers and farmers from low-cost
foreign competition)
Underwood Tariff (1913)lowered tariffs and replaced the revenue with an
income tax (allowed by the 16th Amendment); American businesses were
afraid of foreign competition; forced businesses to become more efficient in
order to remain competitive
Republican President of the 1920s (Harding, Coolidge, Hoover)favored
low income taxes on the wealthy (trickle-down or supply-side economics),
high tariffs, and very little regulation of business or the stock market
Smoot-Hawley Tariff (1930)raised tariff rates as the Great Depression was
beginning; other nations responded by also raising tariffs, which hurt
international trade, and deepened the worldwide depression
North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA/1994)increased free trade
among U.S., Canada, and Mexico; supported by George H.W. Bush and Bill
Clinton; criticized for causing a decrease in American manufacturing
jobs/factories that have been moved to Mexico
World Trade Organization (WTO/1995)promotes free trade; limits tariffs;
numerous protests have been held because WTO does little to improve
worldwide working conditions

(6d) Deficit spending

Deficit spendingwhen government spends (expenditures) more than it is

bringing in (revenue)
Arguments forcan be used to create jobs (Great Depression/FDRs New
Deal), encourage investment (Reagonomics in the 1980s), in case of war

(World War II), or to stimulate the economy during recessions (Bush/Obama

stimulus packages)
Arguments againstleads to federal budget deficits and national debt;
crowds out or decreases credit available to private business; large deficits
can cause inflation

(7a) Cultural artifacts

Carefully examine any/all photographs, posters, political cartoons, etc.; look

at all details; use visual context clues; determine what the message of the
image is or represents

(7b) Impact of religion

Christian missionaries and white mans burden were key factors in

American Imperialism during the late 19th and early 20th centuries
Womens Christian Temperance Unionworked to encourage temperance
(voluntary limiting use of alcohol) and later prohibition; helped to get the 18 th
Amendment (prohibition) passed; many other religious organizations have
been involved in promoting social reform
Religious organizations have provided help and social services to the poor;
especially during the late 19th and early 20th centuries (settlement houses,
social gospel movement); also during the Great Depression
During the 1950s, many American turned to fundamentalist religion in
response to the spread of communism and atheism during the Cold War;
examples include adding under God to the Pledge of Allegiance and In God
We Trust to American currency
Moral Majority (1980s)fundamentalist/conservative Christian organization;
supported Reagan

(7c) Role of mass media

Spanish-American Waryellow journalism (exaggerated or sensationalist

news stories with eye-catching headlines) was used to generate support for
the war, especially in the Hearst and Pulitzer newspapers
Muckrakerslate 19th and early 20th century journalists who exposed
problems in American society; their work led to numerous government
reforms; Upton Sinclair (The Jungle; meatpacking industry); Lincoln Steffens
(Shame of the Cities; urban political corruption); Ida Tarbell (History of
Standard Oil; monopolies); Jacob Riis (How the Other Half Lives; poor
immigrants and tenements)
Radioin the 1920s, radio rapidly became popular throughout the U.S.; led to
the rise of a national popular culture; used by FDR for his Fireside Chats
during the Great Depression and WWII to calm Americans fears and gain
support for his policies
Televisionfollowing WWII, in the 1940s and 1950s, television replaced radio
as Americas mass media of choice; American watched t.v. for several hour a
day; t.v. shows spread the stereotype of the middle-class, suburban family;
changed American eating habits and family life

Kennedy-Nixon debates (1960)first televised Presidential debates; Kennedy

appeared more relaxed and confident than Nixon; key factor in influencing
the outcome of the very close 1960 election (Kennedy won)
Vietnam Wartelevision coverage (including graphic images and body
counts) influenced American opinion to turn against support for the war
Since the 1980s, the number of Americans with personal computers and
internet has greatly increased the access to information from around the
world; widely used in education

(7d) Modernism vs. traditionalism

Modernismbelief in separation of church and state; supported the teaching

of evolution and science; believed education should be free from religious
influence; tended to be urban; believed women should have access to
education and careers; most opposed prohibition
Traditionalismclosely connected with fundamentalism (belief in a literal
interpretation of the Bible); opposed modern values and the teaching of
evolution (supported creationism); tended to be rural; believed womens role
was as homemaker; supported prohibition; the Ku Klux Klan of the 1920s
promoted itself as a traditionalist organization (pure Americanism)
Scopes Monkey Trial (1925)trial based on the teaching of the theory of
evolution; classic confrontation between fundamentalism and modernism
Equal Rights Amendment (1972-1982)supported by Betty Friedan (The
Feminine Mystique) and the National Organization for Women (NOW);
opposed by Phyllis Schlafly and the Stop-ERA movement; modernists vs.
traditionalists; the ERA failed to pass by the deadline in 1982

(7e) Diversity of the United States

America is the most culturally diverse nation, representing every ethnic/racial

group in the world
Hispanic population is rapidly increasing in the U.S., especially in
Southwestern states; now the largest minority group in America; greater
number of Spanish language television stations